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Making The Case In Favor Of Enhanced Campaigns

There’s been a lot of anxiety and skepticism from PPC marketers around the recently announced enhanced campaigns. One Search Engine Land commenter put it pretty bluntly:

downgrading-to-enhanced-campaigns

While it’s true that certain advanced features – most notably device-level targeting and keyword-level CPC bidding for mobile-only campaigns – are going away, and it’s likely that mobile CPC’s will go up, there’s a lot to be gained from these changes, too.

I, for one, welcome these changes. As someone who works with a customer list of more than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses, I’ve found that mobile advertising adoption rates are exceedingly low with these advertisers. Probably only around 1 in 25 SMBs (4%!) had the time or expertise to create and manage separate mobile-optimized campaigns.

In my experience, only the most sophisticated advertisers at agencies and large, big-budget companies were using the mobile features. That’s a lot of wasted opportunity, and Enhanced Campaigns should do away with most of it.

In this article, I’d like to talk about some of the reasons I think this is positive news for the majority of marketers.

Exhibit A: Current Device Targeting Options

Previously, it was considered best practice to create separate campaigns for mobile and desktop targeting. This effectively doubled the advertiser’s workload as well as the complexity associated with managing the campaigns.

Here’s what the current device targeting options look like in AdWords:

device-targeting

It’s a beast. Again, some power users appreciated all these granular options, and those are the advertisers that are upset about the news.

But, the vast majority of AdWords users were turned off by the complexity of the settings and too many options, so they opted not to take advantage of any advanced mobile ad features, afraid that they’d screw something up and be wasting money on campaigns that they didn’t have the time to manage properly.

Exhibit B: Geo Targeting Options

Location targeting is essential to a successful mobile strategy. When AdWords was invented, geo-targeting was based on countries. The best practice was to have different campaigns for different locations.

Over time, they added the ability to get much more granular with location targeting – states, cities, radius targeting and all sorts of other options.

geo-targeting-adwords-enhanced-campaigns

Again, there’s a tradeoff between control and ease of use. Setting up different campaigns for every possible location and device combination was untenable for most advertisers.

With Enhanced Campaigns, Google has made geo-targeting and device-targeting more like dayparting. You could always adjust your bids up or down based on time of day – this was useful because advertisers could bid less (or turn off their ads) at night, on weekends, or other times when leads were less valuable, for example, during times when their stores were closed.

In the new system, location- and device-based bidding will work the same way. Advertisers will be able to adjust bids up or down in certain geographic locations and when a search occurs on a mobile device. A bid adjustment of -100% will effectively turn off mobile targeting or advertising in that location. I see this as a vast improvement over the current system.

Exhibit C: Mobile Best Practice Adoption Rates

The above components (geo targeting and device targeting) are essential components of a mobile ad strategy. Previously, getting these components right was so complicated that almost no one used it. The types of businesses that are apt to get the most value from mobile search are small local businesses (dentists, restaurants, car dealerships, etc.) – one in three searches from mobile devices have local search intent.

Yet these also happen to be the least sophisticated advertisers! There was an obvious problem here – the advertisers who stood to gain the most from mobile search were the least likely to use it, because the mobile search options were the most complicated things to properly implement.

Enhanced Campaigns will increase adoption among the SMBs that could really benefit from mobile PPC. Some of the advantages for marketers that upgrade to the new system include:

  • Better Reporting Options: The reporting options for mobile are getting a lot stronger, and there will be no more $1 per call tracking fee. They’re making mobile search ROI much easier to track and measure.
  • New Mobile Conversion Type: Conversion tracking was always more challenging on mobile than on desktop search, because goal completions were often defined by a phone call rather than reaching a certain page. Google is introducing a new conversion type based on call duration – again, making it easier to measure the value of your mobile ads.
  • Dramatically Simplified Campaign Management: Advertisers can now target users across all kinds of devices using the same campaigns, rather than having to explode their campaigns out for different devices and locations. This will drastically reduce the time needed to manage mobile ads.

I’m not saying the news is all good.

One of my complaints is that advertisers that were following the previous best practice will have a less than ideal upgrade experience. For example, desktop campaigns will automatically be set to a non-zero mobile bid. I would have preferred if the bid adjustment factor for mobile search weres set to -100% for desktop-only campaigns. And I wish they would have an optional ability to specify mobile bids at the keyword-level rather than just having a single campaign-level bid multiplier. And yes, mobile CPCs are inevitably going to rise as competition increases, etc.

Overall, I believe Enhanced Campaigns will be a boon for the advertising segment (small and midsized businesses) that stand to benefit most.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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